Christmas shopping and disability
For many people, the thought of heading out on Black Friday to fight the masses and the sights of crowds of people willing to push over another human being in order to obtain a cut price 90” smart TV is not an attractive one.
For others, it is a chance to save money and get Christmas shopping done on a budget. In these times of austerity when purses are being squeezed tighter than ever, the ability to purchase necessary and luxury items on the cheap is a huge advantage.
It is all personal choice, but what about when that choice is taken away from you because of disability?
Black Friday, along with much of the Christmas shopping rush can be so inaccessible for anyone but non-disabled people. A person with medical conditions, either physical or mental may not be able to queue for hours waiting for shops to open, they may not be able to compete with the pushing and shoving of fellow festive consumers, they may not even be able to gain access to the shop at all, let alone navigate the tight, cramped aisles between crowded shelves.
A government disability audit in 2014 found:
- Less than a third of department stores have accessible changing rooms.
- Two thirds of retail staff have no training in how to help disabled customers
- A third of department stores do not have an accessible toilet.
- 20% of high street shops have no ramps for wheelchairs
- Only 15% of retailers have hearing loops for shoppers with hearing impairments.
Shopping for Christmas can be a huge reminder of how many barriers are in place for disabled people. If you have an illness or disability, it can be hard to have the strength to simply cover the miles of shopping centre walkways.
So what can we do about it?
From groceries to gifts, search for deals online and find the best free or cheap delivery deals.
Plan ahead and shop in advance, look for the deals that come up throughout the year and take advantage of them. This also helps with budgeting and means you can shop at quieter times.
Know your rights
The Equality Act 2010 calls that shops must take positive steps to remove the barriers you face because of your disability. This is to ensure you receive the same services, as far as this is possible, as someone who's not disabled.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for dealing with Christmas shopping? Get involved in the discussion now.
Senior online community officer